I loved this book! I couldn’t put it down and read it all in one evening. I look forward to reading it many more times, since Lisa’s book has given me a nuanced and comforting way to look at my own concept of home (not a simple concept in a nomadic life).
I’ve been a longtime fan of Lisa’s blog. Lisa, an Australian psychologist, was living in Los Angeles and traveling all over the world to train humanitarian aid workers in stress management techniques, when she received an email from Mike, an American working to develop sanitation systems in Papua New Guinea.
Through stories and big questions and the wonderful invention that is email, one thing led to another, and now they live in Luang Prabang, Laos, with their adorable baby Dominic.
Love at the Speed of Email seamlessly blends letters and memories with gorgeous, urgent, present-tense storytelling.
Here’s the description from the back of the book:
Lisa looks as if she has it made. She has turned her nomadic childhood and forensic psychology training into a successful career as a stress management trainer for humanitarian aid workers. She lives in Los Angeles, travels the world, and her first novel has just been published to some acclaim. But as she turns 31, Lisa realizes that she is still single, constantly on airplanes, and increasingly wondering where home is and what it really means to commit to a person, place, or career. When an intriguing stranger living on the other side of the world emails her out of the blue, she must decide whether she will risk trying to answer those questions. Her decision will change her life.
This book is an ideal choice for a long plane ride, a book club, or a lazy afternoon at “home” (whatever that means). Order it!
The core theme of the book is a search to define home, which is not easy when your life has spanned Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Croatia, Ghana, Zimbabwe, and more (in Lisa’s case) or California, China, Chile, and beyond (in mine).
While reading the book on my iPad, I made a list of things that I associate with home. These are artifacts from many people and places, which all blend together in my mind.
- Home is tea poured for me, with no sugar but plenty of sweetness.
- Home is red lentil soup with lemon. (This recipe inspired my version. I interrupted the writing of this list to make a spicy batch. It’s winter here in Chile.)
- Home is broiled salmon topped with orange spice paste and a salad of green apples, spiced pecans, bleu cheese, and mixed greens.
- Home is the hairstylist who has #8 on his nametag and remembers every detail I’ve ever told him.
- Home is a broadsheet newspaper in my native language.
- Home is Halloween costumes.
- Home is a Thanksgiving feast.
- Home is the Nutcracker soundtrack.
- Home is made-from-scratch Mexican food.
- Home is knowing where the bus will turn.
This list is incomplete; this isn’t the first time I’ve written about home. Almost two years ago, while living in Beijing, I made this photo-filled list of places I’ve called home.
Here’s the view from my current home.